|The face of trust|
- To acquire and use information from the global information infrastructure for the purpose of providing foreign intelligence, in accordance with Government of Canada intelligence priorities
- To provide advice, guidance and services to help ensure the protection of electronic information and of information infrastructures of importance to the Government of Canada
- To provide technical and operational assistance to federal law enforcement and security agencies in the performance of their lawful duties.
Of course, it's foolish to believe that any country doesn't have clandestine agencies such as these. They often play an important role in safeguarding our sovereignty versus other nations that would want to gain financial or military advantages over Canada. So the threats exist and it's naive to say it that they don't.
Civilian oversight over these agencies is vital for a democracy. And having this agency report exclusively to the head of National Defence - Peter MacKay - is a frightening prospect for any Canadian.
Peter MacKay is someone who supposedly knew nothing about Afghan detainees being tortured. He knew even less about what was going on with our troops in Afghanistan. He asks the military to dig up dirt on his political opponents. He mistakes military helicopters for taxi cabs. He's misled Canadians about the costs of the F-35s.
He is far from being the personification of accountability.
If the Intelligence oversight report back to Peter MacKay exclusively doesn't worry you enough, how about the news that there won't be any financial accountability either? No public accounting of their finances. Just straight to Peter MacKay.
This is the same Peter MacKay that kept two sets of books for the F-35s. This is the same Peter MacKay that gave incomplete information to the Public Budget Officer about them as well.
This is a government that classifies Canadian environmental groups as being funded by "foreign radicals". Have they been targeted by CSEC? I wish we could find out...
There seems to be confusion within the Harper Government. They're under the impression that their legitimately elected government is the embodiment of democracy. If you win an election, you can do whatever you want when it's in the form of a strong, stable Conservative majority.
Problem is, that isn't the case.
Democracy is not Government; Parliament is democracy.
Parliament - and specifically the Loyal Opposition - asks questions and works as a system of checks and balances for the ruling Party. Accountability is demanded from government to avoid excesses or improper behaviour.
But in Conservative Canada, at a time where nearly all Government agencies are slashing 10% of their budgets, CSEC remains untouched by these cuts and are moving into its 880 million dollar offices with its 1,950 staff and its annual budget of 350 million dollars.
The only person guaranteeing Canadians that this clandestine agency doesn't overstep its bounds is Peter MacKay...